Marco, Marty and the Twins
by Nick Brady
Copyright © 2016 – 2016 by Nick Brady, all rights reserved.
There was a Greater Tulsa Powwow and Arts Festival in Glenpool the first weekend in February and the family was making plans to go.
"There will be dancing, Are you boys up for it?" Marco asked the twins.
"Sure we are," Ben answered for both of them. "We have our regalia and Travis taught us how to dance better."
"I wonder if he will be there," Ben asked. "We haven't seen him for a long time."
"You could call him and see," Marty Suggested.
"I'll call him," Ben volunteered
Ben ran into the bedroom to retrieve the phone number that Travis had given him and came back to borrow Marty's cell phone, then punched in the number.
After a few rings Travis answered. "Hello, Travis? This is Benjamin. Yes Sam and I met you at the powwow last summer. – Right, how are you? – We are wondering if you are going to the Powwow in Glenpool next weekend. __ You are? Cool. We will be there. – Sure, we are going to dance. – Well I don't know if we are good enough to compete. – You really think so? – Yeah, that would be cool. – OK then I guess we'll see you there."
"What did he say?" Sam wanted to know.
"He will be there and thinks we should enter the competition dancing for juniors," Ben said with excitement. "He will paint our faces for us. He says that will get us a better score."
"Yeah! That will be cool, can we Daddy?" Sam asked.
"I don't see why not. Your regalia is nice and you guys have been practicing some." Marco replied.
Marty laughed. "It won't hurt to try. I bet you will have fun with it even if you don't win any prizes."
"We need to practice!" Ben said and he and Sam ran into their bedroom
"Do you really think we are be good enough to dance in the competition?" Sam wondered.
"Ben laughed, "Probably not, but it will be fun. I wish we had a drum."
"Remember what Travis told us? If we clap our hands and stomp our feet we can get a rhythm going and dance to that," Sam recalled.
They stood looking at each other and began to clap their hands in a steady rhythm, stamping their feet and trying to feel the rhythm. They began to move to the beat and then spread their arms and turned and moved their feet, trying to recall what they had learned from their friend Travis. Soon they were grinning at each other and moving with ease.
"I think we can do this," Ben declared.
"Me too," Sam agreed. "But I'm getting hot and sweaty."
"Let's take off our shirts," Ben suggested.
Soon they were bare chested and stepping and turning to the beat in their heads, their eyes fixed on each other.
"You are looking good," Sam said. "I wish we had those breast plates like Travis. That would make us look a lot better."
"Yeah, that would be neat, Ben agreed, "But he got that like from his grandfather. We don't have any family stuff.
Sam's eyes brightened, "Do you suppose Uncle Eugene would have anything we could borrow?"
"I don't know, but we could ask," Ben grinned.
They ran back into the living room. "Daddy! Do you think Uncle Eugene might have some breast plates we could wear in the dance contest?"
Marco was working on a painting on the dining table. He laid down his brush and looked thoughtful. "I don't know, why do you ask?"
"Well do you remember Travis at the powwow? He had this cool breast plate and we would like to wear something like that in the dance contest," Ben explained.
"We would be real careful with it," Sam promised.
Marco looked at his two young brown skinned boys, their torsos shiny with perspiration, and smiled. "I will ask him what he has. You boys would look good with breast plates."
"Cool! We think we are getting good enough to try it," Sam told him. "But it is kind of hard to dance without a drum. I wish we had a drum."
Marty spoke up. "You know I have that electric keyboard. There is a rhythm option. Let's see what I can do with that."
He went to the keyboard and started pushing buttons. Soon the thump of a bass drum sounded. "How's that?"
"That's a little too fast. Can you slow it down?" Marco asked.
Marty turned a knob and added a bit of echo. "How's that?"
"Yeah, that sounds right," Sam exclaimed. "Turn it up."
The boys began to dance, picking up their feet, spreading their arms and turning around as their bodies swayed in time to the drum beat. They looked pretty good.
"Do you think you could practice here in the living room so I don't have to move the keyboard into your bedroom?" Marty asked.
"Sure! That's cool. Thank you Papa." Ben cried and gave Marty a quick sweaty hug.
For the next several days the twins devoted themselves to working on their dancing. By time for the powwow they were sure they were ready.
The morning of the show they went early. Marco had entered himself as an exhibitor and had a dozen paintings for the art show. They paid their admission, the entry fee for Marco's art work and for the boys to compete in the dance contest. They helped Marco carry in his paintings and went to a small area reserved for Marco's paintings and the boys helped him set them up.
Sam and Ben looked at the paintings carefully. "Wow, these are really cool," Sam exclaimed.
The paintings were of dancers in regalia. One was a line of women in long dresses and shawls, several others of young men in feather bustles, swirling around. The simple ink drawings were splashed with bright color and caught the movement of the dance.
"These are some of your best works," Marty told him. "I haven't seen you do this sort of thing before."
"I have been working on them at the studio," Marco explained. "I wanted to do some things for this show. Do you like them?"
"Very much," Marty said. "These will sell, especially here in this show."
Marco grinned. "I hope so. Now we need to find Uncle Eugene. I think he has something for you boys."
In a few minutes Eugene and Eunice found them, carrying a canvas bag, They greeted one another. Joshua had not come, but Jacob was there. "I have some things you boys might be interested in," Eugene told them."
He opened the bag and carefully removed a pair of breast plates. "These are kind of old but they are still in good shape. They are made from turkey bones." The double rows of white bones were separated down the center with turquoise beads. "When it's time for you to dance I will show you how to put them on," he told them.
"Oh man! Those are super cool!" Ben exclaimed. Sam said nothing but his eyes sparkled.
They spent some time looking around at the art exhibit. There were shirts and dresses for sale, and various arts and crafts. In the section that contained the painting they stopped in front of Marco's section.
"Did you do these?" Eunice asked.
"Yes, these are mine." Marco acknowledged.
Eunice looked surprised. "Oh my, these are wonderful. I have never seen any of your paintings before." She was obviously very impressed.
Marco smiled but did not reply except to say "Thank you."
Soon it was time for the grand procession and they separated to march in by age groups. Marty stepped aside to take photographs while the rest took their places, Eugene, Eunice and Jacob in Seminole regalia as were the twins, and Marco in his buckskins with his long black hair fanned out over his back. They were a handsome family.
The day went on until it was time for the junior dancers. First everyone who cared to participated, then later was the competition.
"OK boys, lets get you dressed." Eugene told them. Get your shirts off and let me show you how to tie these breast plates." He tied the devices around their necks and then took the soft leather thongs that ran from the bottom corners and tied it behind their backs. The bones looked very white against their brown skin.
Travis had found them and was very encouraging. He had brought a small box with him. "Can I paint your faces?" he asked.
Sam and Ben stood very still while Travis applied soft grease paint on their faces. He carefully made a black diagonal line across the faces of both boys from the corner of one side of the forehead across their noses and down to the lower edge of the chin on the other. Then he filled in each side with paint, yellow above and white below on Ben, and white above with yellow below on Sam. He had them close their eyes and made a vertical red line from the eyebrow to the top of the cheek over both eyes. Eugene fastened a pair of long turkey feathers to hang down from the back of their turbans. The effect was startling.
Sam and Ben looked at each other with amazement.
"Wow, you look like the real deal," Ben said.
"You too," Sam responded.
"You are the real deal," Marco smiled.
"OK boys, get ready," Eugene told them.
The drum began to throb as six men sat around it and pounded on it in unison, boom-bah, boom-bah. Sam and Ben joined four other young boys on the floor. They lifted their knees high and put their feet down, toe–heel, toe-heel to the beat of the drum, their arms spread wide and leaning from side to side as they whirled around with feathers flying. Their eyes were closed as they lost themselves to the rhythm of the drum. They seemed to be from another time. All too soon the drummers sounded the four strong beats that signaled the end of the dance. The twins stopped immediately and stood up straight and proud, then walked away from the drum to their waiting family who stood and applauded them.
Travis was the first to rush up and congratulate them. "You guys were awesome!"
Marco and Marty were very proud of them and told them so. Eugene carefully removed the breast plates and placed them back in the canvas bag while Eunice handed them their ribbon shirts.
They walked over to the concession stand for a cold drink. Sam and Ben said little but looked at each other and smiled. Something passed between them in an unspoken way.
When they sat down with their sodas Sam said to Ben. "That felt good."
"Yeah, it did," Ben replied. "I really wasn't thinking about what I was doing, I just did it."
"Eugene laughed. "It feels good when it's right, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, that's it. It just felt right." Ben agreed.
"Well you did great," Marco said. "We couldn't have been more proud of you."
Marty shook his head. "I got lots of photos, and some video footage too."
They went back and watched as the other groups of dancers competed. By the time the competition was over and the winners were being announced, the twins had slumped over and fallen asleep.
When it was time for the winners of their age group to be announced, Marty shook them awake. "Hey, listen up guys. This is your group." They roused and watched with sleepy eyes as the announcer began to speak.
"Well folks we have a little problem here," he said. "We are supposed to pick three winners but we can't figure out quite how to do this. The first two are clear enough but we can't tell them apart. So we will have to award Samuel and Benjamin Montgomery both first place and give the other young man third place. You boys will have to wrestle each other for the medals."
Everyone laughed as the arena filled with warm applause. Sam and Ben walked out shyly and took the first and second prize medals then congratulated the third place winner. They were proud but exhausted. No sooner were they in the car then they fell sound asleep.
When they got to the house Marco woke them up. "Come on guys. You are too big to carry inside."
Marco and Marty put their arms around the shoulders of their sons and walked them in to bed.
"Can you stay awake long enough to shower? " Marco asked. "You are both pretty stinky."
They nodded in the affirmative, went in to remove their regalia and stumbled into the bathroom. Once under the warm water they silently soaped up and washed each other's backs with little comment. They walked slowly back to their bedroom and stretched out naked on the bottom bunk.
"We did it," Ben said.
"We did it together," Sam reminded him.
Then they turned towards each other and embraced in a warm brotherly hug before falling asleep. When they woke up the next morning they were in their own bunks still naked but tucked under their covers. It had been quite a night.
They did not see Travis again until the next spring. The weather had turned warm and he called one Friday evening to invite them to come out for a sleepover and to try their luck fishing in his pond. Permission was granted and Marco and Marty drove them out to the Wilson farm. They were to spend the night and had their bags packed with clean underwear and a change of clothes.
"We will be back about nine o'clock Sunday morning to pick you up and take you to church," Marco told them.
"We'll have them ready," Mr. Wilson assured them.
They went up to Travis's room and dropped their bags on the floor.
"You guys were awesome at the powwow," he told them.
"You taught us how to dance," Sam said. "You did good too."
"I won third in my group," Travis said, "But you guys did way better."
Ben laughed. "It was the face paint, maybe."
"No, you danced like you were in another world, honestly you did," Travis admitted. "You guys are just naturals I think."
Sam and Ben didn't quite know how to respond until Ben asked, "Can we go fishing?
"Sure," Travis said. "I got some poles ready. Let's go."
They walked out toward the pond, stopping at the barn to pick up three fishing poles and a tackle box.
"I dug us some worms this morning," Travis told them. "They make the best bait. Have you guys ever been fishing before?"
They shook their heads from side to side.
"Really? Well I can show you how. Come on."
The three boys walked down to the farm pond and sat on a small embankment at one side. Travis showed them how to tie a hook to the end of their lines with a fisherman's knot and clipped a lead weight about a foot above the hook, and clipped a plastic float just above that.
"OK now, this isn't like fly fishing or anything. You just stick a worm on the hook and toss it in," he explained. "We got lots of perch and catfish in here and a few bass if we are lucky."
They did as instructed, trying not to make a face as they crammed the squirming worm on the sharp hook then tossed it into the water.
"Now watch that float," Travis instructed. "When it starts to bob up and down, watch real close. When it goes under you want to jerk on it to set the hook, then just reel it in."
They sat and watched. Some big horseflies buzzed around then and a gentle breeze caused the floats to drift away slowly, but nothing else happened.
"Be patient," Travis cautioned them. "They got to find it. Fish can smell you know." They sat and watched and thought about being patient.
Before too long Ben's float began to move up and down in a gentle fashion. Ben jerked his line violently out of the water to find an empty hook.
"Hang on," Travis told him. "That old fish was just suckin' on the worm. You got to wait until he gets hold of it. When the float goes under then you jerk it, but not too hard, just enough to set the hook."
He shoved the can of worms over for Ben to re-bait his hook and they waited some more.
A few minutes later Sam's float began to bob. He waited cautiously until it suddenly disappeared under the water then gave his line a good jerk and felt a strong movement on the other end.
"You got him!" Travis shouted, "Now pull him in real steady, OK?"
Sam turned the crank on his reel and walked backwards at the same time until a wiggling catfish emerged from the water.
"That's a pretty good one," Travis shouted with excitement. "Good job!"
Travis took the fish off the hook and pulled a length of cord from his pocket to run through the fishes jaw and then slipped the end of it through a ring on the other end of the cord. Letting the fish dangle from the loop of cord he tossed it back in the water and snugged the other end onto a stick and shoved it into the soft ground.
"OK now, let's get some more." He had them all re-bait their hooks and they resumed their vigil.
It was not long until Ben's float dove beneath the water and he more cautiously pulled in his line to find a perch as big as his hand.
"Hey, those are good eating too," Travis assured them and added it to his cord. Ben was delighted.
"That's the first fish I ever caught," Ben cried.
"That was mine too," Sam reminded him.
Hey resumed their efforts with more enthusiasm as all three boys began to do some good. Within an hour they had a cord weighed down with six decent catfish and four nice perch. There were a few others that Travis declared too small to keep but they were all fun to catch.
They trooped proudly back to the barn where Travis filled a bucket with water from a tap and announced. "Now we get to clean them."
Ben and Sam exchanged doubtful glances.
"Come on guys. You don't want to eat them with the guts inside. It's easy, I'll show you."
Travis tossed a piece of plywood on a workbench and flopped one of the perch on it.
He picked up a sharp knife and slit the fishes belly from just under the gills back to the little opening that was obviously it's poop chute, then held the perch on the board with its belly down, sliced the knife quickly behind the head about halfway through its body then jerked the fish up removing the head and pulling the intestines out with it. "See?' he said, "nothing to it."
Stuck his thumb into the perches body cavity and ran the back of the knife up the sides of the fish from tail to head, causing the scales to fly. He flipped it over and did the other side then tossed it into the bucket of water. The head and entrails were tossed into a second bucket.
He handed the second perch and the knife to Sam. "Now you try it."
Sam blanched. "Uh, I don't have my whittling chip yet," he explained.
Travis looked confused. "What's that mean?"
"He means that he doesn't want to try it," Ben explained. "I guess we are kind of city boys."
Travis laughed. "Can't handle it huh? Well that's OK. It won't take me but a few minutes."
He picked up the rest of the perch and quickly gutted and scaled them ,tossing them into the bucket of water with the first. The catfish took a little longer as he first gutted them than cut through the tough skin behind the head and stripped it off with a pair of pliers. Before tossing them into the water with the perch. The bucket full of entrails he took into the garden yard, dug a hole with a spade and buried, then picked up the bucket of fish and told the twins to follow him into the house. The whole process took less than 30 minutes.
"Hello boys, how were the fish?" His father asked.
"We caught enough for dinner. I cleaned them up. Would you fillet them please? We will have more fish to eat if you do it. I am not real good at that."
Mr. Wilson chuckled. "Well I reckon I could do that since you boys did all the work. I'll see if your mother would like to fry fish for supper. It sounds good to me."
They washed their hands in the kitchen sink then Travis pulled some ham and cheese our of the refrigerator and sat a loaf of bread on the table. "Let's make some sandwiches and then we'll see if I can catch that old pony."
They fixed sandwiches and washed them down with a cold glass of milk, grabbed some apples from a bowl and were out the door and past the barn to where the horses were in the pasture. Travis took a deep breath and put two fingers in his mouth and blew a very loud shrill whistle. The horses lifted their heads and Travis whistled again. They began to walk towards the boys then broke into a trot until they came up to them. Travis took some apples from his pocket and gave one to each horse which they obviously enjoyed. Then he took hold of the halter on his little black and white pony Pal, and led her into the barn.
"Let me saddle her up and we can go for a little ride," he said.
Travis led her over to one side where he put some oats in a bucket and let her feed while he tossed a blanket over her back then put a small saddle on the blanket, reached under to pull a wide strap across her belly and buckled it. He stood there for a minute until the pony seemed to exhale at which time he snugged the strap up tight. "
"She will do that every time," he shook his head. "Then when you get on her the saddle will roll off to one side and you with it." He pulled a bridle over her head and led her out of the barn with the reins.
"Let me check her out," he flipped the reins over her neck and quickly got in the saddle to run her at a trot around in a circle. When he got back to them he stepped off and gave the cinch strap another tug and turned to his friends.
"Do you want to try and ride her?" he looked at Sam and Ben
They looked at each other then back at Travis. "I don't guess we know how to ride a horse," Ben admitted. "We never did that before."
"City boys," Sam shrugged.
Travis laughed. "That's OK. You want to ride behind me?"
"Yeah, that would be cool. Can I go first?" Ben asked.
"OK, watch me." He stepped to the left side of the pony and put his left foot in the stirrup then stood and swung his right leg over, dropping himself neatly in the saddle.
He pulled his left foot loose and told Ben, "Now you do the same thing and you can get up in the saddle behind me."
Ben was shorter than Travis and it was quite a reach to get his foot in the stirrup. He managed but was not able to step up into the saddle. "Give him a boost," Travis told Sam. Sam pushed Ben up by his rump and he managed to scramble into the saddle behind Travis.
"There you go! Now hang on to me," Travis instructed and took off at a trot.
Ben wrapped his arms around Travis' waist and held on tight. His crotch was pressed tight against Travis' butt and he could feel the older boy's tight stomach as they bounced along. It was a different sort of feeling, not good, not bad, just different.
"You doing OK?" Travis asked.
"I think so," Ben replied.
"Hang on," Travis clicked his tongue and slapped the pony's sides with his feet. Pal lurched into a gallop giving Ben a thrill and causing him to lean to one side and grab onto Travis even tighter.
"Whoa!" Travis pulled back on the reins slowing Pal down to a walk. "I guess you weren't ready for that."
"I guess not," Ben was a little rattled but tried not to show it. "I'm fine, I just didn't expect that."
"That's OK. There's a first time for everything. Let's just take it slow."
They walked the pony around the barn at a leisurely pace while Sam sat on the wooden fence and watched. When they got back to him Ben slipped off and helped Sam get up behind Travis.
"You want to go fast?" Travis teased.
"Uh, not really," Sam admitted.
Travis laughed. "I didn't think so. Let's go around the barn."
They walked around the barn while Ben waited, then Sam got down while Travis took Pal into the barn and took off the saddle and bridle. They watched as he wiped her down with a rough towel and gave her some more oats.
Sam looked a little embarrassed, "Sorry, but we never did this before."
Travis grinned, "That's OK. If you got to ride more you would get better. Just like your dancing. You got real good with that after you practiced a little."
"I guess you're right," Ben said, "It was nice of you to let us ride."
"I'm really glad you came out," Travis said earnestly. "You guys are cool."
He turned and ran his hand over the pony's neck "She'll go back down with the other horses when she's finished with her oats," he said. "Let's go get the eggs."
They followed him into the chicken shed to gather the eggs. They knew how to do that and shooed a couple of hens off their boxes to retrieve their treasures then took them to the house to put the eggs into the cooler.
"When John gets here we can go and milk," Travis said. "We have a little time. What do you guys want to do?"
Ben shrugged, "I don't know. What do you do for fun when you are not doing your chores?"
"I know," Travis said. "Would you like to ride on the four-wheeler?"
"Sure, that sounds like fun," Sam said. "Can we all get on it?"
"It will hold four if you hang on. Come on, I'll show you." Travis led them back out to the barn.
In one corner was a green four wheel cart with a John Deere logo on the side. There were seats for two in the front and two in the back. The benches were narrow but big enough for the boys. Travis started it up and sat behind the wheel. Ben sat next to him and Sam got in the back.
"Hang on," Travis told them, and drove it out of the barn.
They went back down to the pond then beyond to the perimeter of the farm and drove along the barbed wire fence that confined the cattle.
"I have to check the fences every couple of days to make sure it is tight," Travis explained. "We don't want the cows to get out."
The bumped along through the pasture next to the fence. This was a chore that was fun to do. Travis drove fast enough to make the ride exciting. As they drove by some thickets of thorny brambles several rabbits raced out.
"You ever eat a rabbit?" Travis asked. "They make good eating. I bet you never went rabbit hunting either."
"No, never," Ben replied as he bounced around in the seat. "Are they hard to shoot?"
"Not really. I got a little 410 shotgun that works pretty good." Travis explained. "But sometimes I just use a 22 rifle. If you whistle at them they'll stop and look around. Watch this."
He ran up to another clump of brambles and sure enough several rabbits rushed out. Travis stopped quickly, stuck two fingers in his mouth and emitted a sharp whistle. One of the rabbits disappeared under a clump of grass but another stopped short and stood up on his haunches to look around.
"If I had my 22 I could shoot that sucker in the head. No buckshot to pick out," Travis told them.
"Really? That's cool," Sam said. "It would be cool to live on a farm like this. You can do a lot of fun stuff."
"I like it, Travis admitted. "Me and John used to do a lot of stuff together but he is gone most of the time now. That's why it's fun to have you guys come out here with me."
"You have a lot of work to do, but you have a lot of fun too." Ben observed.
Travis steered the four-wheeler towards some tall grass. As they drove into the knee high grass they were startled by a rush of motion as some birds burst up around them.
"Quail!" Travis explained. "They are hard to hit, but they make good eating too. And sometimes in the winter we have ducks that land on the pond. I have shot some of those too."
Sam and Ben were suitably impressed. They weren't sure they wanted to live on a farm but could see that it would have it's good moments.
They drove the fence around the perimeter of the farm then went back to the barn. By this time John had returned and he and Travis called the cows into the barn and began the milking. Sam and Ben let them do the milking and tried to pet the feral cats that showed up for a squirt of milk.
By the time all the cows were milked the sun was getting low in the sky and they all walked back to the house with the milk pails.
"Have you guys been having fun out here?" John asked.
"Yeah, we have,"Ben said. "We have done a lot of stuff we never did before."
"We caught some fish and rode the horse," Sam told him.
"I saw the fish in the kitchen," John told him. "Mama is going to cook them for supper."
The kitchen was full of good smells. When they were called to supper there was a platter of very fresh fried fish, a bowl of home canned green beans and another platter of hot cornbread. Mr. Wilson joined them and they made short work of it all.
After supper they cleared off the kitchen table and John and Travis showed Sam and Ben how to play dominoes. "You need to make all the end pieces add up to multiples of five," John explained. It was a simple game but required some thought.
They played until Mrs. Wilson reminded the younger boys that it was time to get ready for bed. "You stinky boys need a bath," she instructed them. "I put some sleeping bags in your bedroom, Travis."
By now the twins were feeling tired from their busy day and they followed Travis up to his bedroom without any argument. Get you some clean underwear and let's go take a bath," Travis instructed them.
There was no shower in the bathroom. Rather, their was a vary large old footed tub that Travis began to fill with hot water.
"Dang, that tub is huge. You could swim in the thing," Sam exclaimed.
Travis grinned. "It is big enough for all three of us," Travis grinned.
"Really?" Ben looked at the tub. "Do you and John get in there together?"
"We used too when we were younger," Travis admitted," But he says he is too big for that now."
"That works for me," Ben said and started to take off his clothes. Travis was quickly naked and stepped into the old tub, his penis beginning to expand.
"Come on in boys, the water is fine," Travis invited them as he sat down on one end of the tub.
Sam and Ben exchanged grins and joined him, sitting at the other end. It was the start of another adventure.
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